- Instruction on Filing Claims Against the Moving Company
- Requesting a Replacement
- Fill Out Moving Claim Form
- Contacting the Company
- Submitting the Claim
- Important Information to Include and Document
- Tell Your Story
- Keeping Record
- Noting Damage
- Preparing a Claim
- Determining the Coverage Option Selected
- Other Coverage Options
- Communication With the Company You Are Filing With is Key
- Now It's Time to Wait - Keep Track of How Long
- Settlement Offer
- Summary Example
1. Instructions on Filing Claims Against the Moving Company
You will have to tell your story:
- Keeping record
- Noting Damage
- Preparing Moving Claim
- Determining the Coverage
- Contacting the Company
- Submitting Claim
- Time Limits & Following Up
- Settlement Payments
If you have full value protection, there are a couple of things that you will need to provide to file a proper claim.
It is a requirement for a mover to provide their customers with a moving claim solution and allow the shipper the opportunity to fill out a claim form. You will need to provide as much detail about the damage as you would for a regular claim, however you will need to be sure to request an amount that will cover any repair estimates or cost of replacing the item.
2. Requesting a ReplacementIf you are requesting the full replacement amount, you should consider providing proof of the value of the item on the claim form, such as the original sales receipt or documentation of the replacement cost of the item or an item of like kind and quality. You should also provide photographic proof of the damage and if you have had any estimates for the cost of repairing the items, you will need to provide a copy of that as well. Once the adjuster analyzes your claim the moving company may want to schedule a repair estimate as well. Be sure that you make yourself available to discuss the claim, questions about the claim and any additional estimates with the claims adjuster whenever necessary. This will help to ensure the quickest and most accurate settlement possible.
Sometimes unfortunate things happen during a move and in order to receive compensation, by law you are required to file a claim in writing. The first thing you will need to do is to notify the movers that you are in need of filing a claim. They will send you a claim form or information on how to contact their claims representative or claims company. Filing a claim it is not very complicated, and the most important thing is that you are accurately filling out the claim form with
4. Contacting the Company
When you have acquired the necessary details for the damaged goods and already reviewed the contract you signed, you need to contact the moving company right away and inform them of your need to file a claim. You should let them know that you are planning to file a claim for the full value of the damaged items or at the $0.60 per lb. per article coverage. All interstate moving companies are required to give you the information about their claims procedures and of their dispute settlement program also known as arbitration. All interstate moving companies are also required to participate in an arbitration program that is able to provide a neutral analysis of any disputed claim. Keep in mind that prior to filing any claim for arbitration or any lawsuit, you must first utilize the moving company’s claims process, giving the company the option to attempt to settle your claim.
5. Submitting the Claim
If you decide to send your claim form to the moving company or their third party claims company via facsimile transmission (fax), the fax cover sheet should be saved along with the print out of fax transmission result confirmation page. This ensures that you have a record of a delivery confirmation for your faxed claim form.
6. Post-SubmittalOnce you have submitted your completed claim form, you may have to wait some time depending on how busy the claim department or third party service is. The busiest season for the household goods moving industry is during the spring and summer months which means that for the most part, the entire winter season is the busiest time of the year for a moving claim service.
7. Important Information to IncludeOften times, you will need a photographic support of the damages that you are claiming, so be sure to take a close up photo that shows the damage to the item as well as a photo that shows the item's entire size. Describe the damage to the items in as much detail as you can to help the adjuster determine the extent of the damage. This helps prevent back and forth communication discussing the damages incurred. Don’t forget to include all relevant information on your claim form, including full legal name, location, and finding movers US DOT number, etc.
Filing a claim really is easy and should be a quick process. I should take you 15 minutes or so depending on the size of the claim you are filing out. Here you can fill out a movers claim form to request an easy to use claim form and we will email you a copy so that you can forward it to the movers.
8. Tell Your StoryThe most important part of filing a claim is to record everything you possibly can. This is a vital part of the process, however, you want to keep in mind that you should keep everything you can fresh in your memory. You don't want to have any trouble telling your side of the story or have any holes or gaps in it. Keeping notes or a timeline is a good way to commit this to memory.
9. Keeping RecordThroughout your move, you should make an attempt to keep a record of all communication with the movers. These attempted communications can be in the form of phone calls, emails, faxes, letters, copies of the contracts, etc. Be sure that you keep ALL of the hard copies of the documents given by the moving company. Your claim is best supported when you have all of the copies of the documents provided by the moving company and proof of your communication with the company. Your records will provide the actual dates and times when you hired the service provided by the moving company, the date of the move and the date/time when you realized that some of your items were carelessly moved or mishandled or were missing altogether.
When necessary and possible, you should provide only copies of the documentations and retain the original copies of your records. However, in some instances, original copies may be required. In such instances, prior to sending the original documents to any company, you should first scan or make a copy for your own records.
Always take advantage of the Delivery Confirmation options available on email and postal mail services so that you can keep a record of Your story’s plot has the similar pattern. The only exception is the price scam that I went through because of the damaged items that made my toilet clogged by the movers. It did not happen just once because I experienced it two times. all outgoing emails or letters, when those were sent and also will provide a written record that the information that you have sent to the moving company was received.
Your records should be kept from the start of your communication with the moving company until you have received delivery and verified that no items were missing or damaged or to the point where you agree on a settlement amount and receive your payment. It is at your discretion whether you retain your records for a longer period of time or whether you dispose of them once your claim has been resolved. Some customers are able to claim moving expenses on their income tax returns, in which case you must maintain your records for a longer period of time. Before discarding of any of your records, be sure that you are certain that they will no longer be needed.
10. Noting DamagedAfter you have examined your shipment, you should note on the inventory lists provided by the moving company if any items were missing or damaged. This list will be your supporting evidence for your claim and if the item is missing, notations on the inventory sheets may be required in order to receive any compensation. This notation should be made on the copy that is to be returned to the moving company so making the required notations at delivery is imperative.
11. Preparing a ClaimOnce the movers have left, you should begin preparing your list of items to be filed on the moving claim. You should also write the monetary amount that you plan on requesting on your claim form. The monetary amount should be provided for each item that was lost or damaged.
Next, you should begin gathering proof of the damages. This can be done properly by taking photos of the claimed damages caused by the moving company. This is the best method of documentation. When taking pictures, it is best to make use of a camera with high mega pixel specs. By doing so, you can guarantee that the images that you will capture are detailed and damages will be evident in each image.
All damaged items must be kept in your possession for future inspection by the moving company. Physical inspection is sometimes required for them to determine the extent of the damages, whether the item is repairable and the cost of repairing or replacing the item. If the item was completely broken or shattered into pieces, you may need to keep all of the pieces properly in one box or plastic container. For instance that the damaged item can no longer be of use due to the major damage, you should still keep it someplace safe. This can be used as a proof of the negligence by the moving company. If you are unsure whether you will be required to keep the broken pieces, it is best to contact your claims adjuster directly. Only after the adjuster gives you permission in writing to dispose of the item should you discard any of the pieces.
It is likely that you will find it hard to figure out the exact value of an item when it has been with you for quite a while. What you can do is to search for receipts or if you recall the store where you bought it, you may be able to obtain a record of the value from them. It is generally easier to locate proof of the value of an item if you used your credit card to purchase the item. All you would need to do is to search for your statement, print it and highlight the price of the item.
If by chance that the damaged item is a newer item, you can search the model online and print the similar model like the one you have. This can serve as the proof of the value of damaged item. If you are unable to prove the value of the actual item, you can try searching for the value of an item that is of like kind and quality.
Be sure that you do not forget to prepare 2 copies of your inventory of items to be claimed. You will need to send one copy to the moving company and the other you should maintain for your own reference.
12. Determining the Coverage Option SelectedIf you signed a contract with the moving company, it means that you also selected one of the valuation coverage options offered by the moving company. Every moving company is required to offer a minimum of 2 valuation coverage options. The first, least common option is the Full (Replacement) Coverage which is provided to the shipper at a cost. The Full (Replacement) Value Coverage option protects your goods up to the replacement of the item or the repair of the item to the condition that it was when the movers picked up the item. This means that if you have an item that will cost $2,000.00 to replace that is completely destroyed and not repairable, the movers are liable for this replacement cost, less any chosen deductible. Or if your $2,000.00 item will cost $200.00 to repair, the movers are liable to offer the $200.00 repair cost, less any chosen deductible. The cost of this coverage, as well as any deductible options available, are determined by the tariff that was active for the moving company at the time of your move. Many customers elect to waive this option as it helps keep the cost of moving more affordable.
The most commonly chosen coverage is provided to the shipper free of charge. This option is the Waiver of Full Replacement Coverage which protects your goods at a value which is not to exceed sixty cents per pound per article. This means that if you have an item that is lost or damaged while in the possession of the movers, the movers are liable for an amount not to exceed $0.60 for every pound that the article weighs. For example, if you have a $2,000.00 flat screen T.V. that weighs 65 pounds that are completely damaged during your move, the movers are only liable to provide you with a settlement of $39.00.
13. Other Coverage OptionsThe other coverage option available is for the customer to purchase insurance from a third party moving insurance company. This is something that must be arranged and paid for prior to the pickup date. Most moving insurance companies require that the coverage is purchased a minimum of 2-3 days prior to the pickup date in order for the policy to be active during the move. Some moving companies can help arrange for their customers to purchase moving insurance.
So how do you know what coverage was selected for your move? Most companies have the valuation coverage options directly on the Bill of Lading which governs the move while some others have a valuation addendum to the Bill of Lading on which the coverage is selected. You will need to verify where your signature appears in the coverage section. If you did not sign for either type of coverage or if you signed for both coverage options, the moving company must provide you with the Full (Replacement) Value Protection with the no deductible option. The cost of this coverage will be deducted from any applicable settlement amount.
Get in touch with the company to inform them about the claim you are filing.
14. Communication With the Company You Are Filing With is Key
15. Now It's Time to Wait - Keep Track of How Long
After all of your hard work, you have prepared and submitted your claim form and you have made sure that you received the notice that the company received your claim. From that date, the company has a certain period of time that they must make a settlement offer or deny your claim. The amount of time allowed by law varies depending on the type of move performed. If you moved long distance or interstate, you have 9 months from the date the movers delivered your shipment to file a claim. The moving company or their third party claims company has up to 120 days from the date that they received your completed claim to make a settlement offer or deny a claim. If they are unable to finalize your claim within the 120 days allowed by law, they must send you a notice every 30 days extending this time frame until the claim is resolved. Most moving companies and third party claims companies do not have the manpower to provide recurrent status updates and therefore, any status updates will probably need to be requested by you. If you have not heard from the moving company, you should be proactive and contact the company yourself. As previously addressed, be sure to keep a record of all of your communication with the moving company.
16. Settlement Offer
Once you have been sent a settlement offer, most moving companies and third party claim companies will request that you sign a release form which is an acknowledgment that the amount offered to you is satisfactory and resolves your claim, complaints, and issues. IF the amount offered does not do so, DO NOT sign the release form! You do have the right to attempt to negotiate a fair settlement and if you are unable to do so utilizing the company’s claim procedures, you do have the option of filing for moving arbitration.
Once you have signed the release form, most companies remit payment in a timely manner, however, there is no law that specifies the time period that is allowed for the moving company to remit payment. You may need to contact the company on a regular basis to obtain a status update until you receive your payment.
In order to file for Small Claims in Court, below are some of the usual forms that you may need.
- Application for small claims in court. This is typically a 1 or 2-page paper works where you will need to fill out some personal information like name, address, the name of defendant/s and address, filing fees amount and a summary as to why you think the money should be paid to you.
- Moving contract copies. There is no need to include the original copies yet the papers need to be organized.
- Interaction with the move company log. This is the paper that you need to provide to prove that you tried to settle the issue prior to pursuing a court case.
- Forms of damage claim copies that will prove that the moving company received the papers you provided. You need to include confirmation of delivery receipt as well as confirmation pages of fax.
- Inventory list of the damaged items together with the receipts.
- Photocopies of images that showed damages. The extra copies should be kept until the court day arrives.
All these documents must be included in the packet that you will file. Remember to also keep extra copies for your own reference.
18. Summary Example:
(Name of moving company) failed to pay me for the damage they caused to some of my goods during the time of our relocation from (state) to (new area). As per the procedures of the (moving company name), last (date of damage claim submission), I provided them with the copy of eh damaged belongings. After several calls of more than two months to settle the claim, the (moving company) failed to pay me for the claim. Also, they did not give me any follow-up information.
THE QUESTION OF MOVERS NOT ATTEMPTING TO HELP?
My claim was not for the reason of inflating the cost of the move. If this is a contract dispute that may need for you to hire a lawyer or you could have a suit because the moving company failed to pay for the damaged goods even after a damage claim form was submitted to their end.
I Was Scammed By a Mover
When you feel that you were scammed by the moving company that you hired, some of your belongings are damaged or missing and you did not receive compensation even after a claim was completed and received from their end, you need to get in touch with a lawyer or perhaps FMSCA.
The majority of reliable moving companies will press on the moving claim if you provided proper information and submitted it to them. This way, you will not jump past it if in the case you have not done it yet.